Location:

The Minerality of Wine story image

The Minerality of Wine

Voiced by Amazon Polly

Does chardonnay really taste like a river rock? The term minerality has been tossed around quite a bit in the sommelier’s vocabulary. In fact, it pervades all aspects of wine; found in wine descriptions and on the lips of winemakers and critics alike. But what does it actually mean? If you are new to the concept, it can seem a bit disorienting. How does one identify certain mineralities in wine?

Minerality in General
The word “minerality” has no real definition. It is not in the dictionary, yet is used quite often in the wine industry to describe characteristics of wines that aren’t fruity, spicy, earthy, etc. One idea is that the term originates from the theory that the rocks and minerals where the vines are grown somehow creep into the grapes before they are plucked; providing characteristic flavors depending on region.

There is no formal research proving that any actual minerals from river rocks, slate, or chalk make their way into the grapes during growth. This does not stop winemakers and restauranteurs alike from describing the wines which come from certain areas as having a high minerality. The idea has gained ground, and many people do believe that qualities from the soil get into the grapes. One thing is certain: Minerality is a thing. We just don’t know exactly what type of thing it is yet.

Defining Minerality
Often, the term is simply used to describe a very certain, yet unknown flavor appeal. Some have described minerality as a “dry, stony acidity” or a “flat, dry rain” quality. As the word gains popularity, we begin to find a definition. One premier wine director said that when his customers are asking for minerality, he has learned that they mean “wines with a lot of acidity but without a lot of fruit or new oak” qualities to them. This is as close to a definition as it can get.

Types of Mineralities
There seems to be a few distinct classes of mineralities in wine. This is based on location or type of wine, and there are slight variations.
• Chalk Minerality – These wines tend to be very dry and reminiscent of schoolhouse chalk. Dry Champagnes or Bruts are said to have chalky mineralities. Some chardonnays from California are describes this way, as well as Italian wines such as Chianti and Barolo.
• Slate Minerality – Slate minerality is less dry than chalk, but adds a certain earthy quality to the minerality. Slate minerality is often associated with rielsing.
• River Stone Minerality – The wet, gritty taste of a granite river stone is said to be found in the profile of chardonnays, sauvignon blanc, and pinot noir.
• Limestone Minerality – A buzzy acidity is used to describe limestone minerality; and it is most often associated with Chablis.

Minerality Usage
Popularity of the term seems to have risen in the last decade or so, and it is used to describe many different wines with different formulas – so there is no one type of wine which has pure mineral qualities. There is also no way of knowing where in the process this minerality is generated. It could be during harvest, the fermentation process, or bottling. Even the choice of a cork or a screw cap could add to the idea of minerality in wine by restricting the flow of oxygen to the bottle.

Hennessy: The Cognac of Hip Hop & Civil Rights (Part 2) story image

May 31 Civil rights

Hennessy: The Cognac of Hip Hop & Civil Rights (Part 2)

It’s safe to say we would all agree Hennessy and Hip-Hop are associated with each other in a special way. We would even go as far to say, Hennessy has reached global iconic status thanks to that fact. That being said, while the cognac of hip-hop was catapulted to its iconic stature thanks to the help of artist like Tupac and Nas, what we don’t know by looking at the surface is that Hennessy has a long standing tradition of supporting people of African decent.

Vinely Live: Michael Jordan & Fred Scherrer story image

May 04 Vinely Live Events

Vinely Live: Michael Jordan & Fred Scherrer

Sommtable Live - this Thursday May 14th, is proud to have to Michael Jordan (Master Sommelier) and Fred Scherrer (Winemaker Russian River Valley and Sonoma Coast) - the dynamic duo in both the world of wine and music. In the realm of viticulture, they’re perfect complements. Both are incredibly enthusiastic about wine, though in somewhat different ways. Jordan is a sommelier, while Scherrer is a winemaker. Together, they can create and appreciate wine at a topflight level. In addition to working in wine together, they also team up to make music. In fact, Sommtable is involved with one of their concerts. 

A Cinco de Mayo Special: Behind the Scenes of Tequila Making story image

May 03 Tequila

A Cinco de Mayo Special: Behind the Scenes of Tequila Making

Happy Cinco de Mayo! When thinking about Cinco de Mayo do you think tacos and tequila? Of course! Beyond the delicious Méxican food and Tequila do you know what the holiday represents?

Hennessy: The Cognac of Hip Hop & Civil Rights (Part 1) story image

April 19 Cognac

Hennessy: The Cognac of Hip Hop & Civil Rights (Part 1)

It’s safe to say we would all agree Hennessy and Hip-Hop are associated with each other in a special way. We would even go as far to say, Hennessy has reached global iconic status thanks to that fact. That being said, while the cognac of hip-hop was catapulted to its iconic stature thanks to the help of artist like Tupac and Nas, what we don’t know by looking at the surface is that Hennessy has a long standing tradition of supporting people of African decent.

PEOPLE ARE STRANGE: Jim Morrison story image

April 16 Music

PEOPLE ARE STRANGE: Jim Morrison

Jim was quoted in his poetic nature: “Being drunk is a good disguise.” He said. “It means I can talk to assholes.”

The First Shot Ever Served: A Tale of the West story image

July 15 shots

The First Shot Ever Served: A Tale of the West

It’s always a race against the heat in the West. Hell, there’s a score of difference races around here. There’s a race to the riches and a race to the hills where the riches lay. There’s a race to food and shelter and the means in which a man might make to get them. There’s a race to the women and to the brothels and saloons where you can find them at. I don’t look for my women in those places but I often find myself in them for other races. Mine is a race to whiskey. It’s only a matter of time before I find myself in one today.

Portugal, a Wine Lover’s Guide story image

May 26 Portuguese Wine

Portugal, a Wine Lover’s Guide

Portugal has a long history of wine making and an endless varietal of wine grapes with enough distinctive personalities to satisfy the most demanding oenophile. The different regions of this small nation that welcomes Western travelers as they head into continental Europe grow characteristically different grapes that produce singular wines, each uniquely suited to different palates.

A Mother-Daughter Tour de Force story image

May 11 Gatinara

A Mother-Daughter Tour de Force

Alessia and Cinzia Travaglini have a shared charisma in their smiles, a look that makes you want to strike up a conversation. Together, they lead the winery, Travaglini Wines, into the future. Alessia is the fourth generation to come into the family business, and is a certified sommelier. Presently, she is earning a degree in Economics and Business Management, to equip her with the skills needed to carry on the family legacy. Under the mentorship of her mother, Cinzia Travaglini, she is positioned to continue on the tradition of excellence firmly established by the winery.

x